Geico spent nearly $1 billion in ads last year


GeicoGeico, which spends the bulk of its ad spend on television, outdoor and the internet, spent $993.8 million for marketing in 2011, according to SNL Financial data. That’s the most in a single year by any car insurer, and is up 10% from the $902.7 million the company spent in 2010.

The increase in spending is part of a multi-year, still-escalating ad war of insurers. State Farm, the largest home and auto insurer in the U.S. as measured by premium, took second place with a dramatic 29% increase in its marketing expenditures to $813.5 million, SNL found.

In 2011, Geico was responsible for roughly one out of every six dollars spent on marketing in the property-and-casualty industry, SNL said. Geico’s 10% increase in 2011 was below the industry growth rate of about 15%, according to SNL. Allstate’s spending increased 12% and Progressive, ranked fifth, rose 9% to $536.1 million, according to SNL.

Television ads are at the heart of many of the campaigns. Geico’s Gecko campaign competes with State Farm’s good-neighbor pitch, Allstate’s series of “Mayhem” ads, and Progressive’s perky saleswoman, Flo, among many other familiar campaigns.